>> welcome to the "journal" on dw. >> here's a look at our headlines at this hour. >> clashes on the streets of alexandria ahead of the referendum on egypt's new constitution. >> relations between russia and the european union in focus as vladimir putin plays -- pays a visit to brussels. >> and today is the start of a new era according to the ancient mayan calendar and the old one draws to an end. in egypt, the final round of a national referendum on the countries' disputed new constitution is set to start on saturday morning. most observers expect the constitution to be approved. unofficial results from the first round of voting last week showed 57% in favor of the
document. >> critics say the constitution is to islamist-based and ignores the rights of women and minorities in the country. in the run-up to the vote, opponents and supporters of morsi clashed again on friday. >> "our souls and our blood we sacrifice to islam," they chanted in alexandria. thousands of muslim brotherhood supporters rallied in the city ahead of the voting on egypt's referendum on the proposed constitution. >> my message to the egyptian people is saying yes to stability. production needs to start moving. economic reform will jump-start political reform, not the other way around. >> opponents of the constitution were also out in force. police tried to keep the two groups apart but were unable to prevent clashes. reports say at least 30 people were injured.
with the country so divided over the proposed constitution, the government is doing little to calm passions. that is leaving many people feeling that the state is not interested in compromise. >> no one wants what is best for egypt. everyone wants what is good for themselves. we need people who want the best for the egyptian people who will work for a better egypt. >> in cairo, opponents continue to occupy tahrir square. the second round of fighting is taking place mainly in conservative rural areas. analysts predict the constitution will be ratified, but opponents say they intend to continue their protests. >> turning out to the u.s., president barack obama has just announced his nomination of senator john kerry to become secretary of state. >> john kerry is currently chairman of the senate foreign relations committee and has undertaken numerous diplomatic
missions. he also ran unsuccessfully for president back in 2004. the move has been widely expected. observers say he should win easy confirmation in the senate. staying in washington, and president obama is increasing the pressure on the country's powerful gun lobby's and calling for stricter regulations on assault weapons. he has also challenged his fellow gun control advocates to take a clear stand on the issue. >> america had a moment of silence for the victims of the newtown massacre. exactly one week ago, a young man armed with a semiautomatic rifle gunned down 20 people in connecticut. meanwhile, the national rifle association has taken a hard- nce on the issue, calling for armed security guards in yev american school to protect students. >> the gun owner's organizatitin has proposed the establishment of a national school shield program, saying a bad guy with a
gun can only be stopped by a good guy with a gun. the head of the inner raymond it clear that the nra opposes new gun laws. pro-gun control activists twice disrupted the press conference in washington. russian president vladimir putin has made sharp comments about a european energy law, saying it causes confusion and undermined trust. russia is the biggest exporter of energy to europe. >> putin was speaking in brussels, where he has been holding talks with eu leaders. his first visit after he was reelected. although russia and the you are close trading partners, there are various contentious issues which divide them. >> vladimir putin did not waste any time on arrival -- just a quick way that the cameras. outside, protesters clashed with police. the women's rights activists were not mincing words, telling the president to go to help --
go to hell. inside, the eu message to russia was also clear. >> we will discuss commitments to guarantee our citizens democratic rights. >> the biggest disagreement is over energy issues. the eu has been critical of new gas pipelines from russia. the south stream pipeline is meant to carry russian gas through bulgaria to austria and italy, but the u.s. and russia are arguing over the rules to be applied to the new pipeline. >> it is true that some difference remained regarding some aspects of energy relations between europe and russia. >> european demands for russia to separate gas companies and distribution channels have so far had no effect. and the russian leader was not prepared to take the criticism lying down. >> my good friend explained his position at such great length and with such a motion because he has a feeling he is in the
wrong. >> the ongoing disputes about energy and trade are taking their toll on the you-russian relations. >> italy's prime minister has resigned. this move paves the way for elections to be held as early as february. mario monti has promised to hand in his resignation -- or had promised to hand in his resignation as soon as parliament passed a 2013 budget, which he led his -- kept his promise. he led a government of technocrats for the past year. europeans had held his economic reforms, but voters have been less impressed with his austerity measures. for more on this now, we are joined now on the phone by our correspondent. what now? >> the president will be consulting with the leaders of political parties over the next day or so. to get their advice as we head
towards elections, and he is expected then to dissolve parliament and call elections february 24. that is the date people believe most likely will be the date of the vote. >> what is the move of italians right now? would berlusconi actually have any chance with voters? >> the extraordinary thing is that despite his being really comprehensively discredited in the eyes of the rest of the world, a lot of italians seem prepared to fall for his charm and his promises, and he is actually on a media blitz at the moment, taking advantage of the fact that there are currently no rules since the campaign has not officially opened, restricting access to the media.
so his face and words are absolutely everywhere on the television and radio and in the press, and i think he is able to appeal to italians' baser instincts, the fact that they are suffering under austerity, and that they see him as -- they associate with him a feel good spirit, although he did not actually succeed in delivering on it when he was in government. >> thank you very much for delivering on that. >> onto friday's market action. european shares gave up ground on the final trading day of the week. our correspondents and as the summary from the frankfurt stock exchange. >> hopes fading at the stock market u.s. politicians may reach a deal on time, alarming traders.
consumers on both sides of the atlantic are also worried. pessimism is growing, and this was a burden for the stock market at the end of the week, but the german dax could keep small gains throughout the week. bets on single shares are expiring, leading to a very volatile trading. >> we stay in frankfurt for a closer look at friday's numbers. the dax had finished the session down by nearly 0.5% -- 7636 points. your socks 50 -- euro stoxx 50 giving up 0.25%. the euro slightly weaker against the dollar, trading at a value of $1.3175. >> turning to france now where the economy is set to show minimal growth in first half of next year, according to the
french national statistics institution, who predict a rise of 0.1%. >> france's economy also barely grew over the course of this year, but in what many analysts see as overly optimistic, paris has set a growth target of 0.8% for 2013 and says it is still confident it can cut its deficit to below the you-mandated level. a german power utility is cutting 1300 jobs as part of a 750 million euro cost-cutting program. >> it is germany's third biggest power company. most of the job losses will be among support and administrative staff. the company has struggled financially from having to shut down to below of its nuclear reactors over safety fears in the wake of the fukushima disaster. >> ratings agency standard and poor's has downgraded cypress
again. its sovereign debt already has junk status. now it has gone down two more notches. >> cypress says it needs a decision on an international bailout within days to avoid a default. international monetary fund says talks are unlikely to be concluded this year. it needs the bailout to save its banks, which are heavily exposed to greet debt. well, germans are losing their appetite for spending money. consumer confidence has fallen for the second month in a row according to market research group gfk. >> they polled 2000 german shoppers and on the 0 digit overall economic picture, their own financial outlook, and plans to shell out cash for big-ticket items this christmas. they concluded that growing pessimism connected to the european debt crisis is prompting germans to keep a tighter hold on their cash. >> stores are busy and shoppers
are out buying christmas kiss, but many retailers are wondering what will happen when the festive season is over. the new season shows that the eurozone crisis is dampening the mood among german consumers with less big-ticket purchases planned. consumer confidence is now at its lowest in the year, but analysts are still optimistic. >> consumers play a big role in how the economy fares. we're expecting to see two factors supporting the economy next year. first, there will be moderate growth in exports, and second, private consumption will provide an important source of support for the economy. >> germans are expecting their earnings to rise, but they are also expecting the economy to go through a difficult time. that means they are not planning to be splashing out their cash. >> to africa, where mali's
government has welcomed a decision by the united nations security council to remove islamist militants from the north of the country using military intervention. >> some have expressed disappointment that it could take up two years to deploy the regional force. >> the united nations said the move would designed to help the government take back territory from what it described as terrorist extremists and armed groups. >> in a rare display of unity, the united nations security council unanimously approved the deployment of a military force to help the government regain control of the country. >> mali is pleased with the adoption of this resolution. it shows the commitment of the international community to support mali in the suit -- struggle against terrorism and transnational crime, which threaten regional and international peace and stability. >> the aim of the mission is to push islamist militants out of northern mali.
tuarig rebels and others exploited a military coup in march, taking control of 2/3 of the country. they impose strict sharia law. before any military action, the united nations once the government to seek a political solution. one option would be to try to get rebels to switch over to the government side. exploiting splits between islamists and tuareg groups. there are also urging mali to hold elections by april. if there ultimately is military intervention, and is not expected to come before next september. >> we want to take a short break right now. we will be back in 60 seconds, so do not go away.
the detonations is appealing for $1.5 billion in aid for a syrian refugees -- the united nations. many have fled to neighboring countries with little or no possessions. >> now, winter is hitting with temperatures sometimes dropping below freezing at night. in many places, there are not enough blankets or tents. we have a look at one camp located in jordan. dam it show has seven children. like every morning, she accompanies her son and his friends from the neighboring shelters to the makeshift washouts. -- >> aisha has seven children. they have the basics -- shelter, food, and water. but it is not really a life, especially for the children. >> i like to play football and basketball, but there are not any balls. >> it is just another day in the
camp. 35,000 syrians have fled to northern jordan since the conflict began. over just a few months, the camp has turned into a small settlement. at its center it is a one- kilometer-long shopping way. rice, oil, lentils, beans, and cost are provided by the un. for everything else, the refugees are on their own. none of the refugees are allowed to leave the camp to look for work. >> i have no money. i have to borrow from friends. >> she and her children are among the lucky ones. while others have to sleep in tents, she and her family are living in a container. her husband does not want to be seen by the cameras, even here in jordan, he still fears the syrian regime. in the cooking area, she prepares the family meal. the result is surprising, given the modest conditions.
while there is a school inside the camp, she does not allow her children to go there. she is worried for their health now that there is an alarming rumor going around. >> i am afraid. i heard there have been cases of tuberculosis at the school. that is why my children are staying right here. >> it is a rumor that is depriving children of an education despite the fact that doctors in the camp have not found a single case of tb. the family has a new neighbor. three days ago, he fled with his wife and children to jordan. for now, they have to live in a tent until there is a container for them. the temperature is sometimes below freezing. it is very tough. >> we have children and it is terribly cold at night. i have asked for more blankets, but they told me i had to wait. >> her eldest son wants to leave the camp. he received death threats after an argument. stranded without any prospects for the future, frustration can easily turn into violence, but
the security forces will not let him out. the jordanian government wants to prevent syrian refugees from going underground. meanwhile, aisha is terrified the violence of the syrian civil war could spread to the camp. >> i want to leave. my children and i want to go home. >> but she knows, and so do her children, that there is no going back. >> in the united states, house speaker john boehner has been forced to withdraw a compromise tax bill as the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes comes ever closer. >> his proposal, known as plan b, was shot down by republicans who refuse to support any tax increases. the plan would have raised taxes on income over $1 million. he says it is now up to president barack obama to come up with a solution. >> what could that mean for ordinary americans?
our reporter went to find out. >> store manager jennifer thomas sells trendy designer fashions at her boutique in the u.s. capitol, washington, d.c. it is a tough business. competition is fierce, and it could get worse if the u.s. were to slip over the fiscal cliff. automatic tax hikes across the board would mean less disposable income for american consumers. >> i think our biggest concerns here are we will not be seeing people purchase as many items as they have in the past. we will see people buy jeans and a top, but they will not buy an additional pair of jeans or a dress on top of that. >> many customers are already pinching pennies. >> it has put a lower ceiling than normal on what we can spend for the holidays, our expenditures for our home, our plans for next year, with trips we may or may not go on.
>> but the budget control act leading to the fiscal cliff is about more than just tax hikes. automatic public spending cuts would also take effect, primarily in the defense budget, which could have huge repercussions for the massive u.s. defense industry. and there's more -- investment in the country's aging infrastructure would also have to be cut back. some experts say it would mean the u.s. gross domestic product would shrink by at around 3.5%. the resulting recession could have severe consequences for the entire global economy. >> the american economy gets a cold, the rest of the world this sneezing pretty quickly, too, so it is going to have ramifications. how quickly those will happen depends on exactly which parts of the economy start to give way first. >> jennifer thomas hopes it will not come to that, but time is running out for politicians in washington to reach a deal. >> germany is gearing up for
federal elections to take place next autumn, even though campaigning is not yet in full swing. the leading candidates are already fully in the spotlight, and, of course, keeping the election in mind with their every public mood. the opposition certainly have their work cut out for them. current opinion polls favor the incumbent chancellor angela merkel. >> let's look ahead and have the competition is shaping up at the moment. >> according to the latest polls, chancellor merkel and her conservative party can look forward to the new year. approval ratings for the party have hit a five-year high. if parliamentary elections were to take place tomorrow, there would expect 40% of the german vote. germany's second-biggest party, the social democrats, trail far behind. germany's greens and left party would receive 13% and 7% of the vote respectively. they no longer have enough support to form a coalition with the cdu, and just 4% of germans would trust the free democrats with their vote.
>> the social democrats and their candidate for chancellor, peer steinbrueck, want a change of direction, the experts say most germans want to stay the course. >> we are not seeing a shift in the national mood like we did in 1998. people really want to change after 16 years of the same coalition. the german people had grown tired of the government, and their votes reflected that. >> but germany's opposition say they want new policies. people on the streets have their demands as well. >> i want the euro crisis to be solved in such a way that we do not have to worry anymore. >> to tell it like it is. i wanted to clearly say what is going on. we are not dumb. >> for the time being at least, things are quiet. germany's politicians want to take advantage of the christmas holiday to rest and refocus.
the election year is just around the corner. >> still to come, people mark the dawn of a new era under the mayan calendar, but first, let's have a look at some of the other stories making headlines. 39 people, including several children, have been killed in tribal violence in kenya. a raid on a village may have been a revenge attack after a dispute over land and water. more than 100 people died in violence in the same area last august and september. >> nato's secretary general has accused the syrian government of using scud-type short-range missiles in their battle against rebels. he says he considers the move an act of desperation by a regime on the verge of collapse. he also reiterated nato plus a commitment to defending neighboring turkey as a nato member in light of the escalation. >> a russian-built spacecraft
has been docked at the international space station after a two-day journey. take off and docking occurred without a hitch. there are three astronauts aboard. they are due to spend half a year performing scientific experiments. >> julian assange says he will release 1 million files next year on website wikileaks. he has spent time in london, and i could leave the building, he will be extradited on charges of sexual assault to sweden. well, the mayan calendar's big day has dawned, and you probably heard all about the chatter about the end of the 5000-year era for the lions. there has even been talk about aliens coming and saving people from the end of the world. >> but in countries exposed to the ancient maya culture, in south america for example, a transition from one calendar cycle to another has a spiritual
meeting. rituals have been held at various historical sites to mark the occasion. continue. people gathered at ancient ruins like this temple in guatemala. weather or not thursday was the last night on earth or simply the end of the mayan calendar, people here were not going to sleep through it -- weather or not -- whether or not. >> we have to decide if we want to continue in the situation we are in theory to be complete human beings, we need to respect the land, the mountains, the forest, the lakes, rivers, the oceans. >> since yesterday, there have been traditional celebrations with my and dance and rituals, but the event has captured the imagination of people around the world, and it seems everyone has their own interpretation. a museum in taiwan even built a replica pyramid, and people counted down to what some believed to be the end of the world.
police in france have cordoned off a village reputed to be the only place that will survive. some expect a giant ufo to land here. locals are taking it all in good humor and are ready to greet visitors from outer space. >> that is it for us. we will be back later on. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--